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Thread: DE Filter Grids, Air bubbles in return, low suction from skimmer questions

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    DE Filter Grids, Air bubbles in return, low suction from skimmer questions

    Here's my pool info:
    Small in-ground gunite pool about 7,850 gallons
    Pump is Anthony AR205-L
    Pump motor is 1 HP, 1.25 Service Factor, Amps 12.6/6.3
    Anthony Apollo DE filter VA-52-2 52 sq. ft.
    Anthony pool heater
    Zodiac Caretaker unit

    OK guys, here's the deal.
    I'm getting very low skimmer suction when I run it on Filter and it is not filtering like is should. If I change the multi-port to backwash or rinse the skimmer suction is normal. I'm also getting bubbles in the return line and very low, if any, flow out of one of the returns. There are only 2 returns. If I hold my hand over the one return that flows well a lot of air bubbles come out of the other return. I've replaced the pump basket lid o-ring, can't seem to see any leaks from the pump drain plugs. There are 2 Jandy valves right before the pump, one for the skimmer and one for the main. I lubed the o-rings inside both of these and don't see any leaks there either. I just manually cleaned the filter grids by following the instructions posted here by Waste. I thought maybe the grids were not flowing well and causing some of these problems. After reassembling everything, there has been no change. I used 8 scoops of DE. The pool setup also has a Caretaker unit, which has all the little returns in the floor of the pool. These do not really work anymore and didn't when we moved in. I can hear air and water, kind of like siphoning, from this for a few seconds when the pump is turned off. I have not taken this apart yet. The pump does not lose prime but I will have to bleed air out of the filter each time the pump is turned on. Sorry my PSI gauge is not working right now so I don't have PSI readings.

    OK some questions that hopefully some of you guys with all the knowledge will be able to help me with.

    1. Would replacing the filter grids entirely help with the low suction? Maybe these are beyond cleaning and just do not allow the water to flow through well enough. I have no idea how long these have been in there. They did seem to hold water in for a bit when I took them out of the soaking tub when I was cleaning them.

    2. Would this air getting in the system have to be from a suction side leak? The only think above ground before the pump is the Jandy valves mentioned and about a foot of 2 inch PVC. Could the air be getting in after the pump, the air and siphoning sound I'm hearing, then get pushed back out the returns when the pump is turned back on? There are no water leaks that I can see when the pump is on.

    I hope I've given enough info on this. Thanks for the help.
    7850 gallon gunite IG rectangular pool, Anthony DE 52 sq. ft. filter, Anthony natural gas heater, Pentair 3/4 HP 340027 pump.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: DE Filter Grids, Air bubbles in return, low suction from skimmer questions

    The pressure gauge is crucial to diagnosing pump and filter problems. It sounds like two problems, but without the pressure readings, it's all guesswork. Gauges are cheap and have standard pipe threads. You should be able to find something locally. It's not much harder than changing a light bulb.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: DE Filter Grids, Air bubbles in return, low suction from skimmer questions

    I'm with 320....fix that gauge before you do anything else. It is crucial to diagnosing flow issues by long distance.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: DE Filter Grids, Air bubbles in return, low suction from skimmer questions

    Yeah, and I just replaced it but get no pressure reading at all. It was like $5 so I figured it was just defective. I know there has to be some pressure in there. When I bleed off the air the water will start squirting out just like it did back when everything was working normally. I'll see if I can find one locally and get it replaced. Thanks and definitely offer up any ideas, as you all know this stuff can get frustrating.

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    Re: DE Filter Grids, Air bubbles in return, low suction from skimmer questions

    OK just replaced the gauge. I'm getting about 2.5-3 PSI after bleeding out the air. Stays the same with main and skimmer open or just one or the other. The skimmer also flows very well by itself but pretty low when main is open. I would think if the grids were plugged a little it would show higher pressure right? I did replace the pump motor last year with one that was identical to the one that was on it. Checked the pump impeller at that time and it seemed fine. Maybe the pump itself?

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: DE Filter Grids, Air bubbles in return, low suction from skimmer questions

    Assuming there's no massive air bubble in the pump basket which would indicate an air leak, I'd start looking at a clogged impeller. It's fairly easy to do if you vacuum pine needles - they can slip right through the basket and wrap around the impeller. Since you know how to separate the pump and motor already, it should be a pretty quick check.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: DE Filter Grids, Air bubbles in return, low suction from skimmer questions

    OK I will check that. This is how the situation was before I replaced the pump motor and I remember reading the impeller could be clogged. It wasn't then but maybe it is now. We do have a bunch of pine trees around and pine needles are a pain so maybe they worked into the impeller like you mentioned. Thanks.

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    Re: DE Filter Grids, Air bubbles in return, low suction from skimmer questions

    Thinking ahead, if I have to replace the pump should I go with a 3/4 HP or stick with a 1 HP? I was thinking if it comes down to this I would go with the Pentair Superflo. I know it would be beneficial to go with a 2 speed pump but I really don't want to spend the extra money and we only have the pool open for about 4 months a year so the benefit would not be as significant. The Anthony pump that's on there now has probably been there for at least 20 years. I should have probably replaced it last year instead of just the motor since replacing the motor did not solve anything.
    7850 gallon gunite IG rectangular pool, Anthony DE 52 sq. ft. filter, Anthony natural gas heater, Pentair 3/4 HP 340027 pump.

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    Re: DE Filter Grids, Air bubbles in return, low suction from skimmer questions

    The impeller was not clogged. I've now noticed there is DE in the pool from when I manually cleaned and added new DE. There does not seem to be enough pressure in the filter, it's right at 2.5. I guess a lot of the DE did not stick to the grids and went into the pool. Should I just replace the pump or would I still be chasing the problem? I can't find any suction leaks at all. Thanks for the help.
    7850 gallon gunite IG rectangular pool, Anthony DE 52 sq. ft. filter, Anthony natural gas heater, Pentair 3/4 HP 340027 pump.

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